After months of being shut down, AMC Theatres is gearing up for its biggest weekend of the year, if not ever. The company has revealed that 70 percent of its theaters will be open in time for the U.S. release of Tenet this weekend, which is the biggest movie to arrive in theaters since the shutdown kicked off in March. This includes theaters in San Diego, signaling a return to moviegoing in California.
The news was repealed by AMC, who say 420 locations will be open nationwide as of this Thursday, September 3. That coincides with the domestic release of Tenet, following its recent international debut. 140 of those locations will be opening for the first time since they were shut down back in March. Auditorium capacity is being limited per local regulations. In San Diego, capacity is limited to 25 percent. Adam Aron, CEO and President of AMC Theatres, had this to say.
“The first two weekends of operations have exceeded our expectations in terms of guests returning to the movies and in terms of their feedback about our extensive AMC Safe & Clean policies and procedures. Our comprehensive commitment to operating our theatres safely now includes social distancing through limiting ticket sales and automatic seat blocking, seamless contactless ticketing, greatly enhanced cleaning procedures, the availability of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes throughout our theatres, as well as a mandatory mask policy for all guests and crew members.”
Theaters in the U.S. have slowly started to reopen in recent weeks, with the release of The New Mutants last weekend giving the box office its first significant jolt in months. There is still some debate over the safety of visiting indoor movie theaters right now, which is why drive-ins are still expected to be a big part of the equation for the industry. AMC expects to announce further openings in California and New Jersey soon. Adam Aron, speaking further, offered assurance to moviegoers who are planning to visit AMC.
“We’re also closely monitoring local and state guidance, and we are complying with any additional capacity restrictions. In addition, we have invested millions for high tech solutions to sanitization and disinfection including electrostatic sprayers, HEPA vacuums and MERV 13 air filters. Guests returning to AMC can do so knowing that we’ve been in constant dialogue with top scientists and experts in public health and cleaning about how best to reopen our theatres in ways that will be responsible and welcoming.”
Warner Bros. has strict guidelines for movie theaters who wish to show Tenet. This has also limited the number of drive-ins that will be able to play it. The movie has a promising box office debut overseas and has been met with a generally warm, with some divisiveness, response from critics. Pirated copies of the action/thriller have already started making the rounds online. John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh star.
AMC is the largest movie theater chain in the U.S. The company has faced serious financial issues during the shutdown, including the threat of bankruptcy looming in the background. With that, the release of big movies on as many screens as possible is of paramount importance to AMC’s survival. This news was previously reported by The Wrap.